Family affair: `I never liked being myself'

Singer and songwriter Howard Jones made his name in the 1980s with hits like What Is Love, and Like to Get to Know You Well. His latest single is Let The People Have Their Say. He and his wife Jan live in Reading and have three children, Osheen, 12, Mica, 10, and Jasper, 4. Osheen has acted in the film of `A Midsummer Night's Dream', `Velvet Goldmine', and in `Titus Andronicus'

Howard

Osheen was conceived on a tour bus travelling from Denver to Salt Lake City. My wife Jan and I slept at the back which you could convert into a double bed. We had been having a wonderful time living in Ireland so we named him Osheen which is the English spelling of an Irish name. Later we thought it would be wonderful if he could experience our lives with us so up until he went to school he came on big tours around the world.

In places like Japan, Osheen would be in his pushchair surrounded by about 30 aunts and uncles - the crew and band. He didn't sleep much as a baby - he's still like that now. I guess he grew up thinking it was normal for people to be playing instruments and singing on stage. That must affect a person.

From a very young age Osheen has been into dressing up and putting on accents, and generally swanning around as different characters. At three years old he said he was going to be an actor. When friends came round he would rush into his room and reappear dressed up in animal costumes, brightly coloured clothes, dresses even.

We thought he'd like to go to Saturday drama classes at a local theatre school. Through the school he came to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company who were doing a film of their production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Then he had a small part in Velvet Goldmine with Ewan McGregor. After that he was cast as Sir Anthony Hopkins's grandson in Titus Andronicus which he's just finished filming in Rome. I was on tour in America but the rest of the family went out to be with Osheen. He had a tutor from nine to five but he missed his friends and found night shoots hard because he had to stay up until 4am. We'd talk daily on the phone and I'd say to him, "There's only a few more weeks to go now. Once you see the film you'll be so proud of your work."

Jan and I talk constantly about what it means to have a son who is a child actor. If you believe that people get born to certain families for a reason, we believe that Osheen has ended up in our family because my career has given us so much experience of the media. We know that the big thing is keeping your feet on the ground and not getting all overblown about yourself. I want to help Osheen realise that acting or performing is just another job. We may act or sing but we're still ordinary people. Not everyone may be actors or singers but we use our talent to contribute to society.

Macaulay Culkin and his father are a rather sad story and we couldn't be farther away from that. We have always discussed everything openly. With my Buddhist thinking I've never thought of Osheen as a child but as another person.

If Osheen changes his mind and doesn't want to act any more, that's completely fine by us. We certainly won't push him. But I feel that if you get the opportunity to work with Anthony Hopkins, then as long as you have your family supporting you, it's probably a good thing to do.

Osheen

I never liked being myself; I always liked being other people. I don't know why. I've always liked dressing up and acting from a very young age. Quite embarrassing, really. I liked being very posh people; I loved being Lloyd Grossman - I'd do his voice. I meet people now who I knew when I was very young and they say, "I remember you running around saying `I want to be an actor'."

I thought what dad did was so normal. Now when I see him on stage I think, "Wow, how cool!" But he's still my dad. I think dad and I are very much alike. We both like music, fashion and art, but he's more of a stage person than me. I'm a bit shyer. I'm more of a film actor. I went on tour with him in the summer to the United States and had a brilliant time. The first night I went on stage with him he didn't tell me he was going to point the microphone at me and say, "Do your thing."

I was just so happy when I got the part in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I'd been to three auditions and it got down to two people. I couldn't imagine seeing myself on the screen. Weird! I was wearing pyjamas. Some bits I thought were quite good. In others I'd think, "Oh, I look terrible. Who did my hair?"

After that I did Velvet Goldmine. I remember walking through the costumes department to try on my outfit, looking at all these outrageous costumes, like platform shoes. I thought, "My God, what am I going to have to wear? What are my friends going to think of me in platform shoes?" I was relieved to learn I had to wear a grey school outfit.

Me and dad talk a lot about the whole business of me being a child actor. If I've had a hard day and I've not been very happy, I'd tell him. Filming Titus Andronicus in Rome I did get very upset because I was missing my friends and I was desperate to go back to school.

Towards the end of the movie I got quite ill: I had a really bad cold and a temperature and I was terribly worried about not being able to fly back to England. On the last day I wanted to fly back early in the morning and go to school in the afternoon. But I missed my flight because I was so ill.

Believe me, making films is not at all glam. Being on a movie set is really boring. I'd just hang around and then they wouldn't use me and I'd get so annoyed. Some days I had to get up really early when I had to have my hair dyed. I'd think, "Oh, God I didn't want this to happen."

Near the end of the movie, I had a scene where I was at a big table full of toy soldiers and food and I had to throw things about. That felt great. In fact, I was so upset, that I went a bit crazy and I was throwing everything everywhere. That really helped me get it all out.

I like acting but I'd rather not do it now. On that last movie I missed my friends so much that by the end I got depressed. My dad is great, but I don't want to be like him. I'd like to be a really nice person like he is, but be myself. For the moment, I just want to be with my friends at school.

Interviews by

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Mitch Winehouse is releasing a new album

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star